With two weeks left in the FY’18 Fiscal Year your company needs to shift from being a marathon runner to a sprinter in order to close business. Here are three things to focus on now: 1. Call, Meet, E-mail Your Prospects: If your prospective customer hasn’t called you, you Read more
Did you know that over 1,000 contract clauses may be in use across the Multiple Award Schedules program? Multiple versions of specific clauses abound. These are prime reasons why the agency is seeking to consolidate and standardize the terms and conditions that govern Read more
Chief Financial Officers at the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury and other large agencies received letters recently from members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee warning against “potentially wasteful” year-end spending as FY’18 draws to a close. Whether or not that letter may chill September buying activity remains to be seen. If the Senate, however, doesn’t want to have so much spending loaded at the end of the year perhaps they can work with their House colleagues to pass appropriations bills earlier than half-way into the fiscal year. Congress has played a large role in setting the stage for such actions because it can’t get its part of the job done on time. Now, however, everyone has to live with spending a full year’s worth of appropriations in six months. Contractors would be wise to help their customers show why spending on specific procurements isn’t wasteful, merely because it happens late in the year. We’ve always maintained that calling on CFO representatives is a sound business practice and this is one example why. If you haven’t developed a relationship with agency CFO’s, funds for expected projects could be withheld, in this instance just to show Congressional overseers that they got the memo. Congress may be poised to actually pass significant appropriations for FY’19 on time. Till then, make sure you can help your customer justify FY’18 spending.
Do you really know who controls your suppliers, teammates, or subcontractors? Just because the firm is headquartered in Tyson’s Corner doesn’t mean they’re local. Federal agencies and contractors already know that they incur daily attempted intrusions into their IT networks. Sometimes, though, the threat can come from another angle: an otherwise legitimate looking business that is, in reality, a Trojan Horse. Giving an un-verified company access to sensitive files or classified information can cause even more damage to national security than a random IT hack. At a time when DOD, in particular, is paying increased attention to supply chain integrity, contractors must take proper steps to vet any new supplier, teammate or sub-contractor. It’s not just your own vetting, either. Contractors must also be prepared to ask questions about companies a customer agency has either hired, or are contemplating hiring, to work side-by-side with them. While federal agencies can be held accountable for breaches or intelligence incursions, it is vital to remember that it is often a contractor left holding the bag. The finger of blame is pointed disproportionately at contractors. The start of a new fiscal year is a good time to review vetting and oversight procedures. Make sure that your supply chains are secure and that partners are who you think they are.
With three weeks to go in the fiscal year, companies are highly focused on closing last-minute deals to meet or exceed revenue numbers. There is plenty left on the table to get, too. Presumably, however, your firm would like to keep the money it is making this month and not give some of it back to the government in the form of fines. We all need sales people to be successful, but they’re knowledge of federal contract rules may not be what yours is. Make sure that the deals they’re offering prospective clients aren’t putting your company at risk. Pricing and country of origin issues are obvious risk areas, but so too are things like contract scope and size status. “Teaming agreements” with companies you’ve never previously done business with are a risk, as well, especially if they’re offering large potential returns. Importantly, “The customer told me I could” is also not an effective defense to combat an allegation of non-compliance. Assigning an extra set of eyes on last-minute deals does not have to slow down the business process significantly and can be a best practice. Remember, in the government market it is not about how much money you make. It’s about how much money you keep. Compliant business, especially at year end, ensures that you keep the money you worked hard for.